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Be SMART, set goals

calendar08 May 2016

Kathy Freeman's avatar Kathy Freeman

Be SMART, set goals

What is it you really want to do? Many of us know what our dream job would be but have no idea how to make it a reality. Thinking about it can be incredibly overwhelming and can leave you seriously doubting your abilities.

There will have been times during her training, when Jessica Ennis felt the same but her sheer determination and ability to set herself goals led her to achieving gold in the 2012 London Olympics. Setting yourself a series of realistic, achievable goals will help you get to where you want to be.

A toddler learns to walk with one step at a time – achieving your dream is no different. Set yourself tasks every week and push yourself to complete them. Whether it’s researching the field you’d like to work in, or beginning to fill in a few application forms, making sure you have constant goals to complete will bring you one step closer to achieving your ambitions.

Think ‘SMART’ when setting your goals; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, that is. It will help you get focused and you are much more likely to achieve with these factors in mind. Unless you have a superhuman ability to remain constantly enthused, the chances are you will find it hard to stay motivated at all times.

Unfortunately, most of the time motivation must be pursued and it’s up to you to get inspired. Whether it’s finding quotes from business entrepreneurs such as Sir Alan Sugar, or researching stats to inspire you to help the causes you’re passionate about, there are many ways to seek motivation.

No matter what field you want to work in, the likelihood is you’ll have to start from the bottom. Be realistic – don’t expect to dive straight into your dream job. Whether it’s putting in a few volunteer hours at the animal shelter you’d love to someday manage, or getting a job which will simply help you gain enough money to start your own business, it’s important to focus on that long-term goal. Looking ahead will help you remain positive and bring more enjoyment to what you’re doing.

If you struggle to set goals, aren’t sure what field you’d like to work in or even where to begin looking for jobs, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Finding the right job isn’t easy, and can be a daunting process but CAP Job Clubs are here to help. They will teach you vital skills whether it’s building confidence or communicating with employers. Meeting in small groups, CAP Job Clubs will support and encourage you as your search for employment begins.

For more information check out or to book your place call 0800 328 0006.

Written by Kimberley Taylor

Budget recipe binder: Mushroom Stroganoff

calendar15 April 2016

Gemma Pask's avatar Gemma Pask

Budget recipe binder: Mushroom Stroganoff

From what I’ve heard, this is a bit of a ‘Marmite’ dish. When I told my sister recently that I eat it once a week at least, she was glad to be sitting down. ‘It’s the worst!’ she told me in no uncertain terms. Don’t sugar-coat, will you, sis? Still, it’s a super easy, super inexpensive and super healthy recipe, so it’s worth giving it a try and deciding whether you’re in my mad-about-mushrooms team or my anti-strog sister’s!

Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Serves: 4
Total cost: £3.50*


Oil (to fry)
1 large onion
300g closed cup white mushrooms
1 orange or red pepper
Water (boiled in kettle)
2 vegetable stock cubes
Sprinkle of tarragon
300g low fat crème fraîche

To serve:
120g cous cous (uncooked weight)


1. Wash and quarter the mushrooms, then wash the pepper and chop, getting rid of the pips. Finely chop the onion.
2. Put the dry cous cous in a bowl and cover with water from the kettle (approx. 150ml). Cover the bowl with a plate or cling film and set aside.
3. Fry the onions and the pepper until soft, add the mushrooms and fry until they reduce to about half the size (you might need to add a splash more oil, but not too much as mushrooms tend to soak up liquid initially and then let it all back out again).
4. Pour in enough water to just cover the contents of the pan. Stir in the stock cubes and tarragon.
5. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes. You want the water to reduce slightly – but keep an eye on it and don’t let it boil dry.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche.
7. Use a fork to fluff the cous cous and serve in bowls.

Tip: Add 300g Quorn Chicken-Style Pieces at stage 3 and brown slightly before adding the water. The Quorn will soak up the flavor of the mushrooms and stock – a delicious way to add some protein to this dish. (Total cost with Quorn: £5.17*)

*Prices from Tesco, correct at time of publishing

A record breaking March

calendar06 April 2016

Joseph Allison's avatar Joseph Allison

A record breaking March

This March has been our busiest ever for people calling in for debt help, breaking every record we’ve ever had in 20 years.

On March 21, our New Enquiries Team at CAP received 252 calls - the most calls we’ve had in a single day, since CAP started. 2016 looks to be busy. In fact, we’ve already had six record-breaking days so far this year!

This is both sad and encouraging news to hear because the more people who call us, the more we can help. We know that ringing for debt help isn’t easy and takes a lot of courage. Many people wait because they feel embarrassed or simply don’t know about us. Some waited up to three years before calling, thinking they could sort their finances out themselves.  However, so much need is a worrying sign.

We know debt isn’t a small problem in the UK. One in six adults in the UK are living with problem debt. Living with constant demands from creditors and bailiffs can be horrendous so, as we’re finding more and more people need our help, CAP is going to have to grow fast to meet this need.

Please do what you can to help us – and all those people calling for help.

You could try fundraising or donating and help out that way. You could come and volunteer with us at CAP Head Office (like I do myself and many others). You could help simply by spreading the word and telling people about the life-changing work CAP does across the UK. Maybe it’s time to talk to your church leader again about all our new services and how your congregation could get involved?

See how you can help at

We’d love to visit your church!

calendar06 April 2016

Joseph Allison's avatar Joseph Allison

We’d love to visit your church!

Here’s the thing: Christians Against Poverty is fast-moving and always changing. Just when you think you’ve got your head around what we do, we go and change it again!

We have and will always be a debt counselling charity – that’s true – but in recent years, CAP’s focus has widened to include the causes of poverty.

We’ve gone upstream to what’s making people’s financial problems worse. Did you know we’re now helping people with money education, job clubs, learning essential life skills and even addictions?

Of course, we can only do this through the love and care of the local Church which is where you come in!

CAP’s Church Partnership team is often told: “We can’t do much about poverty, we’re only a small church” but here’s another fact: one in three of the congregations we work with have 50 to 100 members. You don’t have to be a mega church to make your mark!

We’d love to send you one of our CAP speakers to speak at your church and tell true stories from the front line of UK poverty that will inspire your church into action and show them that they really can make a genuine difference in their community.

Depending on how close you are to one of our centres, our speakers can do anything from a short ten-minute slot in the Sunday morning service (about CAP and what they can do) to a 20 or 60-minute presentation including our latest films featuring stories of lives transformed by God.

We also can give a sermon on what exactly the Bible says about how we should react to poverty in the world.

There’s nothing like hearing about something first hand and feeling like you’ve got all the information from the ‘horse’s mouth’ – that’s why testimony is so powerful.

Here’s how you put in your CAP Speaker request: [url=][/url]

Volunteering: A word packed with possibility

calendar03 April 2016

Kathy Freeman's avatar Kathy Freeman

Volunteering: A word packed with possibility

Why volunteer? A better question to ask yourself is why not volunteer? Participating in volunteer work provides great benefits for everyone involved, and is likely to improve your future prospects as well as your current circumstances.

Think about that cause you are passionate about – rescuing abused animals, preserving the environment, creating a safe place for the homeless. Whatever it may be; this is your chance to make a difference.

Volunteering isn’t about finding a dull bit of unpaid work to help you get that job you actually want, it’s about using your time to do something you love. Your perspective is key: if you see it as this, any other doors it opens up will simply be an added bonus. Volunteer work isn’t guaranteed to find you a job, but it will definitely make a difference to your CV and ultimately it will enable you to spend your time doing something you believe in. Doing something you love will undoubtedly improve your current circumstances.

We all know being unemployed can be emotionally draining, often leaving you doubting your skills or simply feeling restless and rearing to get out of the house. Purpose, passion and perseverance are three vital ingredients that make the difference between living and surviving. Why not invest your time into volunteering and boost your confidence and motivation?

Time is one of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone. Think about the moments that you value the most, if you took a photo of each of those moments, they will most likely to consist of a collection of your family and friends. Time is precious and it says a lot about character. Employers and recruiters, like us, are ordinary people and they know the importance of time.That’s why volunteer work is valued so highly when it comes to getting a job. It’s a chance to show managers you’re willing to spend time and effort investing into their company or cause.

If you don’t think you have what it takes, use your period of unemployment as a chance to gain further abilities. Ask to be given responsibilities and tasks that will help you learn new skills or sharpen the ones you already have. Be confident and develop as many contacts as you can – ask them to direct you to any future jobs or internships that might be arising.

Volunteering might seem quite a daunting process. Maybe you’re not sure where to begin looking for placements or you’re struggling to build up the confidence to do it? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry, there are hundreds of others who feel exactly the same.

CAP Job Clubs are here to help. We will teach you vital skills whether it’s building confidence or communicating with employers. Meeting in small groups, CAP Job Clubs will support and encourage you as your search for employment begins. For more information check out or to book your place call 0800 328 0006.

Written by Kimberley Taylor

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